Posts Tagged ‘suicide bombers’

Gunmen attack headquarters of Libya national oil firm, two dead

September 10, 2018

Armed men on Monday stormed the headquarters of Libya’s National Oil Company in Tripoli killing at least two people, officials said, as witnesses spoke of hearing a blast and gunfire.

The attack targeted the country’s vital oil sector, repeatedly disrupted by violence since a 2011 uprising against toppled late dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

Witnesses said the building near the city centre had caught fire and was rapidly surrounded by security services, who evacuated its staff, including the NOC chairman Mustafa Sanallah.

Image result for National Oil Company, Libya, photos

Two people were killed and 10 wounded, the health ministry said. Sanallah confirmed to the Libya 218 news channel that staff members had been killed and others wounded, some of whom were in a “serious condition”.

“The security services are looking for gunmen in the building, but our priority is to evacuate the civilians stuck inside,” said Ahmed Ben Salem, a spokesman for the Deterrence Force, a militia that operates as Tripoli’s police force.

“The situation is under control,” he added.

He was not able to provide details on the identity of the attackers.

The Deterrence Force labelled the incident a “terrorist” attack and posted on its Facebook page photos it said showed the remains of suicide bombers.

An oil company official, who asked not to be named, said masked gunmen had exchanged fire with guards and attacked the firm’s headquarters.

“I jumped out of the window with other colleagues, and then we heard an explosion,” the official said.

No group has so far claimed the attack.

Early this month, days of clashes between rival armed groups in Tripoli left at least 63 people dead before a fragile UN-backed ceasefire took hold.

The attack on the NOC headquarters comes four months after suicide bombers struck the headquarters of Libya’s electoral commission, killing 14 in an attack claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.

The group overran Sirte, Kadhafi’s hometown, 600 kilometres (370 miles) east of Tripoli, in 2015. IS was ousted by government forces and allied militias in December 2016, but has continued to carry out attacks.

– Repeated disruptions –

Libya’s vital oil sector has been repeatedly disrupted by violence since the 2011 NATO-backed rebellion that toppled Kadhafi, as two rival governments and a range of armed groups struggle for control of the country’s resources.

The NOC was forced to suspend exports from all four of the country’s key eastern terminals after military strongman Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) regained full control of the region from a rival militia in June.

The NOC declared force majeure on oil loadings at the ports, a legal measure that frees parties to a contract from their obligations due to circumstances beyond their control.

The move added to supply worries on world markets at a time of rising crude oil prices.

But in July the NOC announced that production would resume at the Al-Hariga, Zweitina, Ras Lanuf and Al-Sidra ports, which are conduits for much of the country’s crude and gas sales.

Petrochemical exports had accounted for some 95 percent of state revenues under Kadhafi’s rule, with production at 1.6 million barrels per day.

But after his ouster, output fell to about 20 percent of that level, before recovering to more than one million barrels per day by the end of 2017.

Last week, the NOC announced plans to boost oil revenues by 80 percent to $23 billion, compared to from $13 billion in 2017.

Despite disruptions this year, its revenues from the start of the year to the end of July reached $13.6 billion, exceeding the total figure for 2017.

Oil producers’ cartel OPEC has estimated Libya’s oil reserves at 48 billion barrels, the biggest in Africa.



With Imran Khan, Pakistan Could Reshape Its Image Away From Suicide Bombers, Extremist Groups

July 30, 2018

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has said that he will take oath as prime minister on August 11, Radio Pakistan reported on Monday.

A poster of Imran Khan at a market in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Saturday. CreditAnjum Naveed/Associated Press

Khan shared this information while talking to the newly elected lawmakers from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Islamabad. He said that the name for the slot of KP chief minister will be announced soon.

Speaking on Sindh, he said alleviation of poverty from interior Sindh will be among the top priorities of PTI government.

Although the PTI has emerged as the single largest party in the National Assembly after the polls, the final results issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) show that the party is still short of numbers to form its government independently. According to the results, the PTI has bagged 115 general seats — 22 short of simple majority — whereas the PML-N and PPP have won 64 and 43 seats, respectively.

To meet the required number of votes, the PTI leadership has reportedly been approaching the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA), PML-Quaid (PML-Q), and the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), as well as independents.

Meanwhile, two major parties — Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party — have agreed on formulation of a “coordinated joint strategy” if the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf manages to form its government at the centre.

For more live updates, follow’s official news Instagram

Two suicide bombers blow themselves up at Indonesian police HQ

May 14, 2018

Two militants on a motorcycle blew themselves up at a police headquarters in Indonesia’s second city Surabaya on Monday, wounding at least 10 people including officers, authorities said, a day after a deadly wave of suicide bombings hit churches.


© Andy Pinaria, AFP | This handout photo from the Surabaya local government taken on May 13, 2018, shows police at the site of a blast outside the Gereja Pantekosta Pusat Surabaya.

Citing CCTV footage from the scene East Java Police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera said a man and a woman on the bike stopped at the security checkpoint.

“That’s where the explosion happened,” he added.

“Two people were riding (on the East Java Police ) and a woman was sitting at the back.”

The authorities said the wounded included six civilians and four police.

Ambulances and the bomb squad descended on the chaotic scene with the CCTV images showed the mangled wreckage of a motorbike at the security gate at the headquarters in the heart of the city.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility after the latest suicide bombing.

“This is a cowardly act, undignified and inhumane,” Indonesian President Joko Widodo told reporters in Jakarta.

“There will be no compromise in taking action on the ground to stop terrorism.”

The lethal explosion comes just a day after a family of six including two young daughters staged suicide bombings at three churches in Surabaya during Sunday services.

At least 14 civilians have died as a result of that attack, which was claimed by the Islamic State group, and the toll could climb with more than 40 injured in hospital.

The archipelago nation of some 17,000 islands has long struggled with Islamic militancy, including the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people — mostly foreign tourists — in the country’s worst-ever terror attack.

Deadliest attack in years

Sunday’s church bombings was Indonesia’s deadliest attack in years. The attackers — a mother and father, two daughters aged nine and 12, and two sons aged 16 and 18 — were linked to local extremist network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) which supports IS, police have said.

Authorities said they believed some of the family members had recently returned from Syria, where hundreds of Indonesians have flocked in recent years to fight alongside IS in its bid to carve out a caliphate ruled by strict Islamic law.

A further three people in another family were killed and two wounded when another bomb exploded at an apartment complex about 30 kilometres (20 miles) from Surabaya, just hours later, police said.

The mother and one child died from the explosion while police said they shot dead the father who was carrying a bomb detonator.

Two other children were injured in the blast and were taken to hospital.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the apartment bomb.

In the church attacks, the mother, identified as Puji Kuswati, and her two daughters were wearing niqab face veils and had bombs strapped to their waists as they entered the grounds of the Kristen Indonesia Diponegoro Church and blew themselves up, police have said.

The father, JAD cell leader Dita Priyanto, drove a bomb-laden car into the Surabaya Centre Pentecostal Church while his sons rode motorcycles into Santa Maria church, where they detonated explosives they were carrying, according to authorities.

JAD, led by jailed radical Aman Abdurrahman, has been linked to several deadly incidents, including a 2016 gun and suicide attack in the capital Jakarta that left four attackers and four civilians dead.

That was the first assault claimed by IS in Southeast Asia.

Police on Sunday said four suspected JAD members were killed in a shootout during raids linked to a deadly prison riot this week.

Five members of Indonesia’s elite anti-terrorism squad and a prisoner were killed in clashes that saw Islamist inmates take a guard hostage at a high-security jail on the outskirts of Jakarta. IS claimed responsibility.

Karnavian said Sunday’s church attacks may have been revenge for the arrest of some of JAD’s leaders and for the prison crisis which eventually saw the surrender of the radical inmates.


Suspected IS-inspired suicide bombers attack Indonesian churches, at least 11 dead

May 13, 2018

Suicide bombers suspected to be from an Islamic State-inspired group killed at least 11 people and wounded 40 in attacks on Christians attending Sunday morning services at three churches in Indonesia’s second-largest city of Surabaya, officials said.

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Police are seen outside the Immaculate Santa Maria Catholic Church following a blast, in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia May 13, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto.


Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, has seen a recent resurgence in homegrown militancy inspired in part by Islamic State.

East Java police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera said explosions took place in three churches and at least 11 had died and 40 had been taken to hospital. He called on people to remain calm.

“All places where the public can gather, security has been tightened in those places,” he told a news conference.

Surabaya church bombings: Death toll rises to 10Police officers carry evidence from a crime scene following an alleged suicide bomb attack outside a church in Surabaya, East Java, on Sunday. (AFP/Juni Kriswanto)

Earlier, he told Reuters that an unexploded device at one location had been “secured”.

Television footage showed one church where the yard in front appeared engulfed in fire, with thick, black smoke billowing up. A large blast was heard hours after the attacks, which Mangera said was a bomb disposal squad dealing with a device.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks.

Wawan Purwanto, communication director at Indonesia’s intelligence agency said Islamic State-inspired group Jemaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) was believed to be behind the bombings.

JAD is an umbrella organization on a U.S. State Department “terrorist” list that is estimated to have drawn hundreds of Islamic State sympathizers in Indonesia. For a graphic on bomb attacks in Indonesia, click

The attacks come days after militant Islamist prisoners killed five members of an elite counter-terrorism force during a 36-hour standoff at a high security jail on the outskirts of the capital, Jakarta.

 A person injured from a blast at the Indonesian Christian Church is evacuated to a waiting ambulance in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia May 13, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Didik Suhartono/ via REUTERS

A person injured from a blast at the Indonesian Christian Church is evacuated to a waiting ambulance in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia May 13, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Didik Suhartono/ via REUTERS

The church attacks were likely linked to the prison hostage standoff, Purwanto said.

“The main target is still security authorities, but we can say that there are alternative (targets) if the main targets are blocked,” he said.


At St Mary’s catholic church, the first place of worship to be attacked, the bombing happened after an earlier mass was over and when the church was getting ready to hold another service.

Inspector general Machfud Arifin told CNN Indonesia the suicide attack at St Mary’s was carried out using a motorbike.

A witness interviewed by CNN Indonesia said shortly before the explosion he saw a person on a motorbike drive in carrying a cardboard box.

Separately, an internal police report reviewed by Reuters said a suspected bomb exploded in a car in the parking lot of a Pentacostal church, setting alight dozens of motorbikes.

In the third location, the Indonesian Christian Church, two veiled women entered the church’s yard where they were stopped by a security guard before an explosion occurred at the same spot, according to the police report.

Television images showed toppled and burnt motorcycles and debris scattered around the entrance of one church and police cordoning off areas as crowds gathered.

President Joko Widodo was due to visit the wounded in Surabaya on Sunday, police said, while Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Masudi condemned the attacks.

“We will not back down in the fight against terrorism,” Marsudi said in a message sent on Twitter.

A spokesman for Indonesia’s church association (PGI) called on the government for more help on security at churches.

 Police search the area at the Indonesian Christian Church following a blast in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia May 13, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Didik Suhartono/ via REUTERS

“PGI is concerned because this had happened many times and often taken place around the time of Sunday services,” said Jeirry Sumampow, a spokesman for the Indonesia’s Communion of Churches.

Nearly 90 percent of Indonesians are Muslim, but the country is also home to sizeable communities of Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, and people who adhere to traditional beliefs.

Indonesia has had some major successes tackling militancy inspired by al Qaeda’s attacks on the United States in 2001. But there has been a resurgence of Islamist activity in recent years, some of it linked to the rise of Islamic State.

The most serious incident was in January 2016 when four suicide bombers and gunmen attacked a shopping area in central Jakarta.

Churches have also been targeted previously, including near-simultaneous attacks on churches there at Christmas in 2000 that killed about 20 people.

Additional reporting by Fransiska Nangoy, Agustinus Beo Da Costa and Gayatri Suroyo; Writing by Ed Davies; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Lincoln Feast.

Peace and Freedom comment:

This is a page out of the book of Egypt’s Christian church bombers






© Mohamed El-Shahed / AFP (file photo) | Members of the Egyptian police special forces stand guard on Cairo’s landmark Tahrir Square on January 25, 2016.

Relatives of a Christian woman who was killed in the bombing of Cairo's main Coptic cathedral carry her casked in Cairo on Monday.
Relatives of a Christian woman who was killed in the bombing of Cairo’s main Coptic cathedral carry her casked in Cairo on December 14, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS
 (December 2016)

Members of the special police forces stand guard to secure the area around St. Mark"s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral after an explosion inside the cathedral in Cairo

The building bombed in December 2016 is next to St Mark’s Coptic Cathedral, seat of the church’s pope. Reuters Photo

A Christian employee at Cairo's Coptic Cathedral checks for damage from the blast after an explosion inside the cathedral in Cairo

The interior of the church, where Christians had gathered, was also hit in the explosion. AP photo

Image result for Reina nightclub attack, photos

Islamist gunman Abdulgadir Masharipov killed 39 people  in the Reina nightclub shooting on January 1, 2017, in Istanbul. © Dogan News Agency/AFP/File

 (December 11, 2016)

David Dosha, the priest of the Church of Mart Shmoni, located in the Christian Iraqi town of Bartella. (Safin Hamed/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

An Iraqi Christian forces member lights a candle at the Church of the Immaculate Conception on October 30, 2016 in the town of Qaraqosh (also known as Hamdaniya), 30 kms east of Mosul, after Iraqi forces recaptured it from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. (AFP/ SAFIN HAMED)
An Iraqi Christian forces member lights a candle at the Church of the Immaculate Conception on October 30, 2016 in the town of Qaraqosh (also known as Hamdaniya), 30 kms east of Mosul, after Iraqi forces recaptured it from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. (AFP/ SAFIN HAMED)
26 July 2016
A photo of Priest Jacques Hamel taken from the website of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray parish84 year-old Father Jacques Hamel was giving morning Mass when the Islamist attackers stormed his church. AFP



The Isis jihadist group

Relatives of a Christian woman who was killed in the bombing of Cairo's main Coptic cathedral carry her casked in Cairo on Monday.
Relatives of a Christian woman who was killed in the bombing of Cairo’s main Coptic cathedral carry her casked in Cairo.PHOTO: REUTERS
 (April 3, 2015)


 (September 26, 2013)

A man distraught outside the church

Pakistani Christians stage a protest in Lahore on September 22, 2013, against the killing of their community members in two suicide bomb attacks on a Church in Peshawar.

Members of the Pakistani Christian community chant slogans during a protest rally to condemn SundayImage copyright REUTERS
And the anger of the community has also been stoked, with many taking to the streets in protest for a second day

Prayer and Meditation for Saturday, May 5, 2018 — “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”

May 4, 2018

Saturday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 290

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Reading 1  ACTS 16:1-10

Paul reached also Derbe and Lystra
where there was a disciple named Timothy,
the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer,
but his father was a Greek.
The brothers in Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him,
and Paul wanted him to come along with him.
On account of the Jews of that region, Paul had him circumcised,
for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
As they traveled from city to city,
they handed on to the people for observance the decisions
reached by the Apostles and presbyters in Jerusalem.
Day after day the churches grew stronger in faith
and increased in number.They traveled through the Phrygian and Galatian territory
because they had been prevented by the Holy Spirit
from preaching the message in the province of Asia.
When they came to Mysia, they tried to go on into Bithynia,
but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them,
so they crossed through Mysia and came down to Troas.
During the night Paul had a vision.
A Macedonian stood before him and implored him with these words,
“Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
When he had seen the vision,
we sought passage to Macedonia at once,
concluding that God had called us to proclaim the Good News to them.

Responsorial Psalm  PS 100:1B-2, 3, 5

R. (2a) Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R. Alleluia.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R. Alleluia.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R. Alleluia.
The LORD is good:
his kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. Let all the earth cry out to God with joy.
R. Alleluia.

Alleluia  COL 3:1

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
If then you were raised with Christ,
seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel  JN 15:18-21

Jesus said to his disciples:
“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.
If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own;
but because you do not belong to the world,
and I have chosen you out of the world,
the world hates you.
Remember the word I spoke to you,
‘No slave is greater than his master.’
If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.
If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
And they will do all these things to you on account of my name,
because they do not know the one who sent me.”
Reflection On John 15:18-21 By Fr. Alphonse

John 15:18-21  Love and Hate

Jesus said to his disciples:  “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.  If you belonged to this world, the world would love its own…Remember the word I spoke to you…If they persecuted me, they will persecute you.  If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.  And they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.”

Wow!  This week’s Gospels are speaking to us loud and clear.  You would think the Lord is speaking directly to us.  He is.  You would think the Lord is speaking about today’s issues.  He is.  You would think the Lord is warning us of what’s to come.  He is.

If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.  Christ knew what he was saying.  There’s no use sugar coating vinegar.  He laid it all out for his disciples to follow or to leave.  Ladies and gentlemen,here are the facts.  They will beat you and torture you and scourge you all because of me.  You will be hunted down and executed.  You will be called bigots, homophobes, radicals, extremists all because of me.  No slave is greater than his master.  If they ruined my reputation, they will ruin yours.  If they killed me, they will kill you.

Why so much hatred by non-Christians?  Can they love their enemies?  Why so much persecution of Christians?  Is there any point in all of it?  Hasn’t atheism and secularism won the day?  Not yet.  In fact, not at all.  Yes, atheism and secularism have grown in the United States and elsewhere, but so have infidelity, dysfunctional families, gangs, failing scores, eating disorders, population busts, abortion, sexting, drug use, pornography, suicide and general malaise.  You could say that secularism collapses under its own weight.  You may even say it collapses under its own success. Sure, you can say secularism holds its own ground, but the ground falls from underneath it.  You can say that it attracts; as fatal attractions go.  But the truth of the matter is this:  secularism does not have a chance of succeeding because secularism does not inspire.  It knows how to complain, but it doesn’t know how to create.  We complain all the time about the world.  But we don’t know how to create one.

For example the once-upon-a-time Occupy Wall Street movement attracted the young, just like the once-upon-a-time hippy movement of old.  And just like the hippy movement of old – that never really learned how to love – Occupy Wall Street movement quickly disintegrated to crime and filth. Secularism seeks to be an alternative to religion but it just can’t seem to muster anything that compares to the universality of the Church or the teachings of Jesus Christ. And, if you want to become the center of the Universe, then you better do more than just complain.  You have to be able to create something too.

Hatred is full of complaints.  God is full of love; and love always creates, even in death.

Check out this sobering truth.  Secularists have enormous backing and visibility; whereas Christians are attacked or ignored at every conceivable angle.  I am not exaggerating when I say there is little to no God inside the matrix (TV, computer, work, school, etc.).  Think about this:  the Media has billions of dollars and has complete access to the hearts and minds of millions and millions of people.  And there is little to no God in the Media.  Hollywood has their grip on the hearts and minds of millions and millions of people; and there is little to no God in Hollywood.  Public Schools have complete access to millions and millions of kids; and there is no God there.  The Federal Government does nothing to encourage religion, and has a lot of our money.  As you can see, secularists have billions and billions of dollars to spend every year to push out, ignore, or attack God from our midst.  And all God has are his little, itty-bitty tiny temples and private schools across the nation.

And yet, Goliath has been unable to push God out!  GOD WON’T LEAVE!  HE WON’T BUDGE!  HE WON’T DIE!  What is secularism to do???

Hate and persecute.  Hate and persecute.  Hate and persecute.

It’s human nature.  Actually, it’s fallen human nature; that is, when you put so much time and money and effort into something, and you get very little out of it, of course you’re going to be upset, infuriated, mean-spirited and even deadly.  But I’m here to tell you that their vulgarities, profanities, suicide bombers, lies and deceptions are a symptom of death knocking at their door.

So, what shall we do?  We shall overcome.  Love with a fight.  Little by little.  Step by Step.  Baby step by baby step.  Our eyes have seen the glory of the Lord.  “Do not be afraid.  I conquered the world.”

Rome was not built in a day, but it was destroyed in just a few.  Secularism will always appear to be making ground quickly, but again, it’s quick sand; whereas Christianity will always take its time, because it is always harder to create a culture of life than it is to dig a culture of death.  And Christianity is not about time, it’s about one life at a time.

I read today that twenty-one Anglican priests will be ordained this year for the English Ordinariate. That brings the total number to eighty.  Eighty Catholic priests!  A few years ago the Bishops in England were wondering how to solve their priestly shortage.  It would appear as though the Lord knew the solution.  Please pray for them and support them.  They are being battered on both sides of the Tiber: from Anglicans to liberal minded Catholics.

I also read that the SSPX (Society of Saint Pius X), a schismatic group that disavowed themselves from Vatican II, may soon be reconciled with Rome.  Its leader, Bishop Bernard Fellay, appears to be ready to come back to the fold.  If the SSPX does in fact do so, it will be a major victory for Christ and His Bride. Please pray for the Holy Father and for Bishop Bernard.  They will be battered on both sides of the Tiber:  from members within the Society and from liberal minded Catholics on the other.  As of January, 2010, the Society had over five hundred priests and over two hundred seminarians with nearly two hundred nuns.  This reconciliation is very close to the Holy Father’s heart and he needs our prayers.

If the Lord said his disciples would be hated because of him.  Then he also implied they would be loved because of him.  Let the prayer warriors out of their cage.



Reflection by  The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore

05 MAY, 2018, Saturday, 5th Week of Easter


SCRIPTURE READINGS: [ ACTS 16:1-10PS 100:1-3,5JOHN 15:18-21  ]

In undertaking the mission of Christ, should emphasis be placed on planning and strategizing, or simply being docile to the primacy of grace, which is to be led by the Holy Spirit?  Today, most of us spend much time meeting to brainstorm and formulate our pastoral plans.  This is more so when most of our people are highly educated and trained in corporate planning and strategizing.  Naturally, they bring in their acquired knowledge and skills from the corporate world to apply to the work of evangelization.

If we study the history of salvation, we will find that charismatic leaders and prophets did not plan much but simply responded to the times and the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  All the battles during the time of Moses, Judges and the Kings, were engineered by God.  He was revered as the Lord of Hosts, the Commander of the Army of Israel.  The leaders were told simply to rely on God alone.  Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today; for the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be still.”  (Ex14:13f; cf Dt 3:22Joshua 10:142 Chr 20:17)

In the New Testament, Jesus’ mission was also done in the power of the Holy Spirit.  Immediately after His baptism, He was “led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”  (Mt 4:1)  At the beginning of His mission, He was conscious that His mission was propelled by the Holy Spirit.   Citing from the Prophet Isaiah, He said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.”  (Lk 4:18)  At His death, He surrendered His mission to the Holy Spirit.  “Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!’” (Lk 23:46)

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Holy Spirit book by Edward Leen

After His resurrection, He entrusted the mission to the apostles.  He told them to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit.  “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samar′ia and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 cf Acts 1:4f)  He bestowed upon them the Holy Spirit and sent them out on a mission.  (cf Jn 20:21-23)  Indeed, the Acts of the Apostles illustrate from beginning to end that the mission of the disciples was the work of the Holy Spirit.

Indeed, in today’s first reading, we read how St Paul allowed himself to be led by the Holy Spirit at every stage of his journey.  He did not seem to have done much planning because he relied solely on the prompting of the Holy Spirit.  St Paul seemed to have moved along as the Spirit inspired him.  Docile to the Holy Spirit, he visited one town after another.  They were “told by the Holy Spirit not to preach the word in Asia. When they reached the frontier of Mysia they thought to cross it into Bithynia, but as the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them, they went through Mysia and came down to Troas.”  Finally, “one night Paul had a vision: a Macedonian appeared and appealed to him in these words, ‘Come across to Macedonia and help us’. Once he had seen this vision we lost no time in arranging a passage to Macedonia, convinced that God had called us to bring them the Good News.”

What about us?  Do we have the confidence to allow ourselves to be led by the Holy Spirit?  Do we trust in the power of the Holy Spirit or in ourselves more?  More often than not, we trust God as a last resort.  We believe more in human planning and our hard work than the work of the Holy Spirit.  Many of us would go into detailed planning for our projects and activities.  Even when preaching a homily or giving a talk, we would prepare our power point, read from our prepared notes so that no mistakes would be made.  We leave no chance for anything else to happen because we want to be in control.  Only when things do not work out the way we plan, then we have no choice but to surrender our plans into the hands of God.

But this is not the way the Lord asks us to fulfill His mission.  He told the disciples, “And when they bring you to trial and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say; but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”  (Mk 13:11)  True enough, when the apostles were arrested and tried before the Sanhedrin, they spoke courageously before them.  “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they wondered; and they recognized that they had been with Jesus. But seeing the man that had been healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition.”  (Acts 4:13f)

This is why St John Paul II in his apostolic letter said, “I have no hesitation in saying that all pastoral initiatives must be set in relation to holiness.”  (Novo Milennio Inuente, 30)  “It is also clear however that the paths to holiness are personal and call for a genuine ‘training in holiness’, adapted to people’s needs.”  (NMI, 31) “This training in holiness calls for a Christian life distinguished above all in the art of prayer.”  (NMI 32)

St John Paul II underscores the primacy of grace.  He wrote, “If in the planning that awaits us we commit ourselves more confidently to a pastoral activity that gives personal and communal prayer its proper place, we shall be observing an essential principle of the Christian view of life: the primacy of grace. There is a temptation which perennially besets every spiritual journey and pastoral work: that of thinking that the results depend on our ability to act and to plan. God of course asks us really to cooperate with his grace, and therefore invites us to invest all our resources of intelligence and energy in serving the cause of the Kingdom. But it is fatal to forget that ‘without Christ we can do nothing’ (cf. Jn 15:5)” (NMI 38)

Truly, we must learn to rely on the grace of God more than ourselves.  For as St Paul wrote, “And I was with you in weakness and in much fear and trembling; and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”  (1 Cor 2:3-5)  The Lord assured St Paul in his weakness,  “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:9)  Hence, St Paul said, “I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”  (2 Cor 12:9bf)

This does not mean that we discard the human talents that the Lord has given to us.  Even St Paul made use of his intellectual ingenuity.  He had Timothy circumcised because his father was a Greek.  Although it was not necessary for Timothy to be circumcised to be a Christian, yet for the sake of expedience and receptivity by the Jews, he felt it would make it easier for them to preach the gospel as there would be less resistance.   So by all means, we need to plan, strategize and be prepared, but we must also not constrain the Holy Spirit from blowing and acting beyond your expectations and planning.  We must be ready to change when the Spirit moves us.  If we are too rigid and fearful of responding to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we will reduce the effectiveness of His work in our lives.  Indeed, in my ministry, how often the Lord led me to do things beyond my logic and planning.  Many times, the talks I painstakingly prepared, and the homilies I wrote with much preparation were discarded at the last minute, even as I was delivering it, because I felt the Holy Spirit was leading me to speak on other matters.   With an act of faith in Him, I responded and He often brought about the conversion of hearts more than I could if I had followed according to plan.

In the final analysis, to be able to respond to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we must be people of prayer.  St John Paul II wrote, “It is prayer which roots us in this truth. It constantly reminds us of the primacy of Christ and, in union with him, the primacy of the interior life and of holiness. When this principle is not respected, is it any wonder that pastoral plans come to nothing and leave us with a disheartening sense of frustration?”  (NMI 38)

That is why it is very important that whilst we should engage in pastoral planning and serious preparations for our talks and homilies, yet we need to bring all these into prayer.  We must pray before we plan, during the planning and after the planning, even whilst we are executing the plan, because the Lord might want to surprise us as He surprised St Peter who said, “We have toiled all night and caught nothing” (Lk 5:5).  “This is the moment of faith, of prayer, of conversation with God, in order to open our hearts to the tide of grace and allow the word of Christ to pass through us in all its power: Duc in altum!” (NMI 38)


Written by The Most Rev William Goh Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore


Nigeria: Suicide bombers kill dozens in blasts at Mubi mosque

May 2, 2018

Police say dozens of people were killed in an attack on a mosque in northern Nigeria. Many are blaming the extremist group Boko Haram, though police have not formally speculated as to the motive for the attack.

Nigerian army in Mubi

Dozens of people died on Tuesday when two suicide bombers detonated their explosives at a mosque and a market in Mubi, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) by road from Yola in northeast Nigeria.

Abdullahi Yerima, police commissioner in Adamawa state, said a suicide bomber had struck at the mosque shortly after 1 p.m. (1200 UTC) and a second attacker detonated a device about 200 meters (660 feet) away as worshippers fled. Bomb squads and security personnel have cordoned off the scene.


Striking health workers returned to the hospital to attend to the victims. “We have evacuated dozens of dead and injured people to the hospital,” Habu Saleh, who was volunteering in the aftermath of the explosion, told the news agency AFP. “And the rescue operation is still ongoing.”

Read more: Fighting Boko Haram with bows and arrows

Boko Haram, which briefly held control of Mubi in 2014 as part of its nine-year insurgency, has repeatedly targeted the town with deadly attacks. The fighting has left more than 20,000 people dead and forced about 2 million to flee their homes nationwide. On Thursday, the group carried out an attack in Maiduguri, the capital of the neighboring Borno state, that killed four people.

On November 21, a suicide bomber killed at least 50 people in a mosque during early morning prayers in the Unguwar Shuwa area of Mubi. In 2014, about 40 football supporters died in a bomb attack after a match in the Kabang area of the town. At least 40 people died in a 2012 attack on student housing in Mubi widely blamed on Boko Haram.

mkg/rc (Reuters, AFP, AP)

Paris attacks suspect jailed for 20 years for Belgian attempted murder

April 23, 2018

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A Belgian court sentenced Paris attacks suspect Salah Abdeslam and a co-accused to 20 years in prison on Monday for trying to kill police during a shootout in Brussels in 2016.

Image result for Salah Abdeslam , photos


Judge Marie-France Keutgen told the courtroom that 28-year-old Abdeslam and Tunisian Sofien Ayari, 24, had been found guilty of “attempted terrorist murder” during the shootout in March 2016.

Abdeslam is in a French prison awaiting trial for his role in the Islamic State attacks in Paris in November 2015 in which 130 people were killed. Prosecutors say he is the lone survivor of a suicide squad.


Neither he nor Ayari, who is in custody in Belgium, was present for the judgment.

Despite the absence of both accused, security was tight around the Brussels court, with heavily armed police on guard.

By the time of the shootout in the Brussels district of Forest on March 15, 2016, Abdeslam had been in hiding for four months after fleeing Paris the night his elder brother blew himself up at a cafe.

Prosecutors who accuse Abdeslam of helping organize the attacks and ferry former fighters from Syria around Europe say he, too, would have died if his suicide vest had not failed to detonate. His lawyers do not dispute Abdeslam was in Paris during the attacks.

They finally stumbled across him when, with French officers, they went to inspect a suspect apartment in Forest and then came under a hail of gunfire which wounded four of them.

After a three-hour siege ended with marksmen killing a 35-year-old Algerian called Mohamed Belkaid, police found an arms cache.

Abdeslam’s DNA found at the scene linked him to the shootout and that led to his arrest three days later in a different apartment in Brussels.

CCTV image from the Brussels Zaventem Airport surveillance cameras made available by Belgian Police

CCTV image from the Brussels Zaventem Airport surveillance cameras shows the terrorists before that attack

Four days after his arrest, suicide bombers attacked Brussels Airport and the city’s metro, killing 32 people. Officials believe Abdeslam had links with the bombers and that they brought forward their attack because they feared Abdeslam might reveal their plans under interrogation.


Brussels Airport just after the attack

Abdeslam was present on the opening day of the trial, but refused to answer the judge’s questions.

His lawyer Sven Mary told reporters on Monday that he discuss the case with his client before determining whether to appeal.

Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek; editing by Philip Blenkinsop and Richard Balmforth


See also:

Verdict delivered against sole surviving Paris attacks suspect


Boko Haram Attacks Again on Easter: 11 Killed — Is This The Answer to Nigeria’s Offer of Amnesty?

April 1, 2018

EASTER: 11 killed in BokoHaram attacks in Borno


No fewer than four members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect, four suicide bombers and three civilians were killed in separate attacks on two villages of Malumti and Muna Zawiya village, Mafa Local Government Area of Borno State.

The incidents, according to a reliable source, took place  on  Friday  evening. In a press statement signed by  Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu,  Deputy Director, Public Relations,  Theatre Command, ‘Operation Lafiya Dole’, said, “the four insurgents who had been routed out of the Sambisa Forest by troops in Operation Deep Punch II,   were rummaging   for food and logistics when they met their Waterloo. “The gallant   troops recovered a Toyota Land Cruiser, one AK 47 Rifle, 15 Rounds of 7.62 mm ammunition and one magazine.

Image result for Boko Haram photos

Troops also recovered 47 Jerrycans of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, from the insurgents.

“In another development, troops of Operation Lafiya Dole deployed at a checkpoint ahead of Muna Zawiya in the outskirts of Maiduguri, yesterday, neutralised four suicide bombers comprising a male and three females. “The suicide bombers were attempting to infiltrate the Maiduguri Metropolis through Muna Zawiya area at about  9.30 pm  but were spotted by vigilant troops, who fired shots hitting one of them and thereby triggering a simultaneous explosion killing all the four bombers. “Regrettably, however, 18 persons were injured in the incident.

The wounded have been evacuated for medical attention.

Meanwhile, troops and members of   the Civilian Joint Task Force are presently   conducting cordon and search operation in the area for any other suicide bomber lurking around. But available information obtained from residents so far, revealed that the four blasts were said to be carried out by the suicide bombers leading to the killing of three civilians, apart from the 4 bombers. 18 others sustained various degrees of injuries as well as 5 sheep’s killed during the blasts. The injured persons are currently responding to treatment at specialist hospital Maiduguri.

Confirming the Muna Zawiya suicide attacks, though Contradictory to that of the military, Police Public Relations of Borno State Command, DSP Edet Okon, in a statement earlier said, “At about 2149hrs yesterday, 30/3/18 four (4) female suicide bombers infiltrated Muna Zawiya village in Mafa LGA outskirt of Maiduguri Metropolis. “They detonated the explosives killing themselves and one other person (female). Thirteen   (13) persons were injured and were taken to a hospital where they are responding to treatment.

“The Borno state police command had dispatched men to the scene including men of the CTU,   SARS and EOD to sweep the place and make the environment   safe. Normalcy has returned to the area. Meanwhile, adequate security arrangements has being emplaced for a hitch free Easter celebration. Patrol   and Monitoring Continues.” said Okon. end

Read more at:



Boko Haram in Nigeria: “They are achieving the mission they have set out to do.” — “We must unite against them.”

March 17, 2018


The leader of the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, Professor Ango Abdullahi has voiced his concern about the lingering killings in some parts of Nigeria.

Abdullahi in a statement on Friday said blaming Fulani herdsmen for the killings was political.

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He noted that killings can only be stopped when there was a right communication.

The statement read: “Killings are activities that the government did not envisage but the killings are a challenge to everybody. So, everybody should be blamed for the killings. Communication resolves everything. How much communication is there? And if there are no instruments of communicating, we must establish them rather than buying the weapons of war.

“But let me tell you and I am saying it with all sense of responsibility. Many people are playing politics with the killings. They are initiating a particular pattern of belief, which would undermine the credibility of their group in future. We had the Biafran war in 1967 -1970 and the South East held Nigeria to a standstill before it ended. So, nobody could undermine the Nigerian/Biafran war.

“Now, the issue of militancy confronted this country and reduced our oil production to less than one million barrels per day. Nobody can undermine the works the militants did in the Niger Delta. The National Democratic Coalition (NADECO) confronted Nigeria peacefully after the annulment of the 1993 election and in spite of what you may think, there was no coup in Nigeria that was resisted that ever succeeded. The 1993 annulment of the election of MKO Abiola was resisted through the activities of NADECO and so on and so forth, and that was how the compromises of 1999 brought in former President Olusegun Obasanjo from the South West zone of the country.

“From what I said now, you cannot undermine the Niger Delta, you cannot undermine the Igbo and you cannot undermine the Yoruba. And when the problem of the Fulani caliphate was there, they discovered that they could not undermine the Kanuri and the Tivs.

“But do you know what we are doing now because of politics? Anything that happens now, we say it is the Fulani herdsmen whereas it is since the collapse of the Libyan army and the problem in Mali that caused the free flow of weapons into Nigeria especially the activities of Boko Haram. And instead of looking at the challenges confronting Nigeria, we are saying that it is the herdsmen that are doing it. Cattle rustlers also seize the cattle and kill the herdsmen which is another issue confronting Nigeria but we in Nigeria because of politics always say killings are by the Fulani herdsmen.

“Do you know that what Othman Dan Fodio could not achieve when he was quoted as having said that he would dip the Quoran in the sea is being achieved through stupid politicking by saying that everything that happens in Nigeria is by the Fulani herdsmen? Anywhere you go to, people would say we cannot go to farm because of the Fulani herdsmen. This is when as a matter of fact, the Fulani herdsmen are in more danger than any other Nigerian. Do we talk of Igbo armed robbers? Do we talk of Yoruba 419ers and so on? We talk of all these as crimes and we should be talking of the killings as also a crime. But because of politics, we are going into areas to make our children believe that the fear of Fulani herdsmen is the beginning of wisdom. So, what Othman Dan Fodio could not achieve when he was alive in Nigeria, we are achieving it through communication and making our own children afraid of the Fulani.

“Remember that the Fulani are in the minority in this country. Can you see the way we are moving in the way of deforestation and who would pay for it; our children. We must have the right communication. So, I want to say that criminals do the killings and we must all come together to fight it.

“I am worried over the situation but do not think that it is because the election is coming next year. The Boko Haram sect is fighting a war and they are not fighting a war because there is an election. They are fighting the war because they believe in what they are doing. They are ‘haram’. In other words, they are discouraging people from going to school. So, if Boko Haram abducts people like they did recently in Dapchi, they could not go to school. It is an area that people do not want to go to school and with what happened, you further discourage them from going to school.

“They are achieving the mission they have set out to do. So, they are not looking for election but do not forget that since they have been degraded, they would look for soft targets and where the military is weak to carry out their activities. If they go to the market, they are not there to kidnap anybody but to kill people. They have their members who are suicide bombers. The perception they have is what no Igbo man or Yoruba man would have. They say if you kill yourself, you are going to paradise. Tell me any Southerner whether Yoruba, Igbo, Edo, Urhobo and so on that would kill himself in order to go to paradise. Nobody would do that. But over there, you are told that if you kill someone for a good cause, you are going to paradise. And that is not even in the Quoran. When I was in a Quoranic school in Auchi, I was told that if you kill a Christian, you have not committed an offence. I grew up to discover that it was a lie. It is not there anywhere in the Quoran.

“But then, the Prophet Muhammed said that there would be 73 sects in Islam and only one would be correct. Only one that abides by the provision of the Quoran is correct. The Quoran has dos and donts which says that you do this, you go to paradise and you do that, you go to hell. I am not aware of any book that says it so clearly where you go to when you sin. So people now take the road they want to take and when a scholar moves in the direction of using religion as a weapon, then you get what we have in Nigeria today.

“So, we have to really communicate in the direction of peace and not war. Someone wins an election, takes over and governs and someone loses election and gets prepared to contest again. That is what happens in Britain, America and others. Election should not be a do-or-die thing.

“Do you know that the whole of Nigeria is porous? How many areas do we have? The borders are thousands of kilometers porous. Do you know that around 1980 or so, people of Chad came and invaded Maiduguri and I think that President Muhammadu Buhari was the GOC that time.

“So, these people have been coming but do not forget that Nigeria is at war with Boko Haram. Therefore the whole world of insurgents –ISIS, Tuaregs, al-Qaeda and so on are there fighting. Perhaps, if we look deep enough, we may discover that all these people we call Fulani herdsmen are insurgents who have infiltrated Nigeria. So, the nation is fighting more than the Boko Haram sect. We are currently fighting the whole world of insurgents and that is what Nigerians should be thinking about.

“It is a war that Nigeria must fight and whatever government that we have, the insurgents are there to undermine security. Nigeria is 60 per cent rural and in the rural areas, how many security officials do we have there? So, we have a lot of problems on our hands and we must unite to address these problems.”



Boko Haram: The Jihadist Killers Nigeria Seems Unable or Unwilling To Stop — How often has the Government of Nigeria Declared Victory over Boko Haram since 2009?

February 22, 2018


© AFP | Suicide bomb attacks and abductions have been the hallmarks of Boko Haram’s bloody insurgency

LAGOS (AFP) – Nigeria’s Boko Haram, suspected of another mass kidnapping of school girls, started out as an Islamic anti-corruption group but mutated into an IS affiliate waging a lethal insurgency.- Fundamentalist –

Boko Haram aims to create a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria — a campaign that has cost at least 20,000 lives since 2009 and at its peak displaced 2.6 million from their homes. The name loosely translates from the Hausa language as “Western education is forbidden”.

Founder and spiritual leader Mohammed Yusuf pinned the blame for Nigeria’s ills on Western values left by colonial master Britain, criticised the country’s corrupt secular regime for neglecting development in Muslim regions and advocated a return to fundamentalist Islam.

He came to the attention of authorities in 2002 when he began to build a following among disaffected youths in Maiduguri.

Yusuf was killed in police custody in 2009 after an uprising in Maiduguri that prompted a military assault which killed some 700 people and left the group’s mosque and headquarters in ruins.

Many of its supporters fled the country.

– Violent turn –

Boko Haram was broadly peaceful before Yusuf’s death.

But his successor, his right-hand man Abubakar Shekau, undertook a violent campaign of deadly attacks on schools, churches, mosques, state entities and security forces.

Some Boko Haram members are thought to have trained with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in northern Mali in 2012 and 2013.

Among the group’s most notorious acts was the April 2014 kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from the remote town of Chibok. A total of 107 have since been released, found or escaped.

The mass abduction brought world attention to the insurgency at a time when Boko Haram was seizing territory across the northeast, which became a largely no-go area, with the violence spilling over into Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

In August 2014 Shekau proclaimed a “caliphate” in the Borno town of Gwoza and in March 2015 pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

– Split –

The long-divided Boko Haram underwent a major split in 2016 when the IS recognised Yusuf’s son, Abu Mus’ab al-Barnawi, as its leader.

The Barnawi faction is particularly active on the Chad and Niger borders and has said it will attack Nigerian government targets and the military.

Shekau’s faction operated out of the Sambisa Forest in Borno state, near the Cameroon border, and is responsible for unrelenting suicide bombings targeting civilians.

– Fight back –

President Muhammadu Buhari made crushing Boko Haram one of his priorities after he took office in May 2015.

The Nigerian military has since claimed to have reduced it to a spent and divided force but regular bloody raids and suicide bomb attacks continue.

The violence has forced 2.6 million from their homes since 2009, destroying property and farmland in the mainly rural northeast and sparking a humanitarian crisis and acute food shortages.

In January, troops from Nigeria and backed by others from Cameroon, Chad and Niger launched major offensives against the two Boko Haram factions.

The Nigerian military claimed “tremendous progress”.

Mass hearings started in October last year of 1,669 people arrested over the years on suspicion of being members of Boko Haram, including some women and children.

Since then more than 900 have been released, mostly for lack of evidence.



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Goodluck Jonathan

 (Has links to several previous articles)

Remember this from April 2014? From left: Michelle Obama, Cara Delevingne and Malala Yousafzai call for the release of the girls during the “hashtag campaign”

Parents of abducted Chibok girls cry as police denied them access to see President Muhammadu Buhari during a rally in Abuja

Parents of abducted Chibok girls cry as police denied them access to see President Muhammadu Buhari during a rally in Abuja, Nigeria August 25, 2016. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde